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Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions hasn’t worked on a fight of substance with his former promoter and on-again, off-again rival, Bob Arum of Top Rank Promotions, in five years.
But De La Hoya, declaring himself “back and better than ever” as the president of Golden Boy, told The Times on Tuesday that he recently engaged Arum in conversation about ending boxing’s cold war that has blocked several attractive fights from happening.
One fight that De La Hoya says he’s interested in pursuing is a super-bout between Arum’s star fighter, Manny Pacquiao, and Golden Boy’s top star, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
“Anything’s possible,” De La Hoya said. “That’s one of the reasons I was extending the olive branch. The fans want to see these kinds of fights.”
Alvarez is scheduled to fight Cuba’s Erislandy Lara on July 12 in a 154-pound bout at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, but said he wants another fight later this year. Pacquiao said after winning a convincing decision over Timothy Bradley on April 12 at MGM that he wants to fight again in Las Vegas late this year.
Pacquiao, the World Boxing Organization welterweight champion, has previously fought at 154 pounds.
Golden Boy Chief Executive Richard Schaefer has also worked on all of Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s fights since 2007, but as for the idea of a Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. bout, De La Hoya said, “I don’t speak for Mayweather.”
Arum’s strain with Golden Boy has been mostly with Schaefer, with whom De La Hoya was having his own differences after the former world-champion fighter emerged from rehab.
“I’d be happy to talk to Oscar about any subject in boxing he wishes to talk to me about,” Arum said. “All this baloney about a cold war has never really applied to Oscar and myself. We can talk bout any subject in boxing rationally. … We might disagree on a particular point, but we can talk. I hope we’ll get together and have some significant meetings in the near future.”
De La Hoya checked into rehab last September, the week that Alvarez was defeated by Mayweather in the richest fight in boxing history.
“I was dealing with personal issues, but I’m back,” De La Hoya said. “Golden Boy is my baby. Boxing is my passion, boxing is my life. This is what I’ll be focusing on, growing the brand, making the fights people want to see.”
He said that his strain with Schaefer has been ironed out, with Schaefer getting an extended contract until 2018, and that “everything is peaches and cream.”
De La Hoya also made it clear his company philosophy now is that he wants to try to work with Arum.
“If anyone with Golden Boy has any differences with Bob, it’s on them,” De La Hoya said. “I have nothing against Bob and I feel making fights with Bob is beneficial to the fans and the market.”
Arum said he anticipates more talks with the 1992 Olympic gold medalist who became a massive pay-per-view success before losing to Pacquiao in 2008 and retiring.
“I’ve always had a good relationship with Oscar except when other people interfered,” Arum said. “Oscar and I got along famously and I think we will continue to in the future.
“Remember, we had a long and successful, very profitable relationship. It was a very happy time in both of our lives. To revisit that and to renew the relationship is something I look forward to.”
De La Hoya agreed.
“Bob, what he did for my career was amazing and I appreciate it, am so grateful. I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t extend an olive branch, end the cold war and make fights together. I will be making calls in the near future and we’ll make an event together very soon.”